Boasting characteristics similar to high alpine villages in the Alps, Telluride, Colorado is one of the state’s most spectacular small town. Tucked in a box canyon deep in the San Juan Mountains, the magic of the scenery spreads energy and charm to all aspects of the community. What began as a rugged mining town, progressed into a funky, storybook-like ski town. Telluride now stands as not only a leading destination for outdoor recreation but also an exceptional location for a memorable getaway – summer or winter.
Why Telluride Colorado is Different
It’s no secret that Telluride hosts some of the best in-bounds skiing in North America, and while this drives the Telluride experience, it’s only a small piece of a much larger scene. In this tiny town (population approximately 2,300) the arts are embraced, gondolas replace cars and visiting celebrities and locals cheers together as one.
Telluride consists of two communities – the town of Telluride and the Mountain Village – each offering a similar yet unique experience. Sitting above the valley with an elevation of 9,545 feet, the Mountain Village is a lavish paradise. Established in 1995 and self-described as “a vision of alpine elegance,” visitors can expect nothing less than a five-star experience. Located 1,000 feet below Mountain Village is the elegant and historic town of Telluride. Rustic and bold, Telluride is buzzing with energy, culture and surprises. A free 13-minute gondola ride connects both communities. One of a kind in public transportation, the gondola eliminates the need to drive between locations.
Because of it’s small and very well-to-do population, locals have taken it upon themselves to establish a rich culture of arts, entertainment and cuisine. For most visitors, getting to Telluride can be costly. Therefore, it tends to attract more affluent crowds such as Hollywood’s elite and those who come not only for extreme skiing, but also the liberal mountain culture.
Nearest Ski Mountain
125 Trails and 2,000 acres of demanding terrain. This is not a mountain for the timid.
It’s safe to assume that lodging in Telluride is more expensive than other Colorado ski towns. Chalk it up to the remote location, large demand for lush amenities from Hollywood types and somewhat limited lodging options. But don’t be discouraged, you can find great deals! Quality lodging in Telluride and the Mountain Village is possible as many resorts and hotels offer pre-season specials for those willing to book well in advance. Use the “Explore Telluride’s Best Ski Lodging Deals” box above and right to find Telluride’s best Lodging choices and deals.
Call the Telluride Tourism Board for all questions regarding lodging, amenities, nightlife, dining, etc. While in town talk to the friendly locals for an inside scoop on town happenings and follow Telluride.com for up-to-date event information. Make a flexible game plan before arriving as time moves fast and becomes all too finite in this hidden valley.
The list of restaurants and cafes in Telluride is surprising long so if you don’t have time to enjoy everything, try some of the following suggestions.
Allred’s – Mountaintop restaurant and bar. For amazing views of the valley, take the gondola to Allred’s 10,551 foot elevation. An ideal place for an apres ski glass of wine or a romantic table for two.
Alpino Vino – A secluded, high-alpine dining experience accessed only by Snow-Coach. The European-style chalet offers renowned wines, cheeses, soups, sandwiches, and antipasti plates.
The Brown Dog – Home to award-winning pizza. A great place to grab a slice and a beer while watching sports on one the many TV’s located throughout the restaurant.
Siam – Authentic Thai food, affordable prices and thanks to local organic ingredients, no MSG.
Some will argue the nightlife in Telluride is just as thrilling as the skiing. Fun-loving locals and live music entice visitors to stay out until closing hour. Throughout the season, nationally acclaimed musical acts can be found playing late-night shows at the historic Opera House, Fly Me To The Moon Saloon and Club Red.
Two “must visit” bars are…
New Sheridan Bar – You may have read reviews of The New Sheridan in SKI Magazine and other travel publications. Editors love to record the day’s events with a top-shelf bourbon at one of the oldest historic bars in the west. With a large selection of beer, wine and cocktails, it’s an ideal place to start or end a night on the town.
There… – There’s nothing typical about this oddly named and modern bar. With a wide selection of cocktails and microbrews, There… is a great place to spice things up.
Use the “Explore Telluride’s Best Ski Lodging Deals” box above and right to find Telluride’s best Lodging choices and deals.
Telluride hosts giant Christmas and New Year’s celebrations featuring Santa on the Hill, a Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and a giant New Year’s Eve party with fireworks and countdown to midnight in the Historic District. Well-known throughout Colorado is Telluride’s Gay Ski Week in late February. In years past, the week’s events have attracted worldwide audiences. At the end of the ski season see an electric closing-day party with on-hill DJ’s, pond skim competitions and a handful of after-parties.
Off Mountain Activities
When not making turns on the slopes, Telluride offers a variety of activities. Those looking for an active day of recreation will find miles of nordic skiing tracks, a large network of snowshoeing trails, a semi-indoor and outdoor ice skating rink, yoga centers and snowmobile tours. Prefer a day of relaxation? No problem. You’ll find numerous art galleries, world-class spas, historic theaters and live music.
By Patrick Shehan